Senegal is a Sahelian country located in the westernmost part of Africa with a national territory of 196,722 km². The population of Senegal, estimated at 13.6 million, is made up of more than 20 ethnic groups. Senegal obtained independence from France in 1960. The country is divided into 14 regions, 113 municipalities, 370 rural communities and 14,400 villages.
Senegal is one of the most stable countries in Africa and has considerably strengthened its democratic structures over the years. Since independence in 1960, Senegal has had four presidents. The first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, ruled from 1960 to 1980 and handed over power peacefully to Abdou Diouf. In 2000 Senegal underwent its first democratic political transition with elections in which the Senegalese Democratic Party of Abdoulaye Wade won over the traditional Socialist Party of Léopold Sédar Senghor and Abdou Diouf.
In the 2012 elections, Macky Sall, former prime minister of Senegal, challenged the incumbent president, Abdoulaye Wade, and won the runoff election with 65.8% of the vote. He was sworn in as president on April 2, 2012.
President Sall appointed Ms. Aminata “Mimi” Touré as his prime minister on September 1, 2013. She had been the minister of justice in the former government led by Abdoul Mbaye, who was prime minister from April 2012 to September 2013. Senegal’s political stability will remain at risk if the issues of vulnerability and fragility in the war-torn region of Casamance are not addressed. This will require reinforcing social and national cohesion throughout the country.
Poverty in Senegal decreased only slightly from 2005 to 2011, declining from 48.3% to 46.7%. This contrasts with a decrease from 55.2% to 48.3% between 2001 and 2005. During this period, growth was moderately inclusive as measured by growth elasticity (the percent change in poverty with respect to a one percent change in per capita GDP). Growth elasticity in Senegal was 1.1, slightly better than the sub-Saharan Africa average, 1.0. Extreme poverty dropped more slowly ¾ from 17% to 15% between 2001 and 2011.
The poverty gap between Dakar and rural areas has widened. Poverty remains highest in rural areas, where 57.1% of the population was poor in 2011 compared with 26.1% in urban Dakar. Despite clear progress over the past decade, many Millennium Development Goals will be difficult to achieve.
Senegal aspires to be a high-middle-income country by the next decade but has been stuck in a low-growth equilibrium since 2006. Senegal has not shared the rapid growth experienced by many other Sub-Saharan African countries over the last decade. Compared with the average growth rate of 6% for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, growth in Senegal averaged only 4% between 2000 and 2010, and only 3.3% in the period since 2006.
In 2011, real GDP growth slowed to 2.6%, due to continued energy shortages and a substantial contraction in agricultural output. While nonagricultural activities grew by 4.8%, agricultural output declined drastically in the fourth quarter, when more than 50% of the annual production is harvested, leading to a fall in annual output of 21%. Electricity supply improved in the last semester, thanks to implementation of the emergency energy-recovery plan. Dynamism in the telecommunication, transport and financial sectors contributed to good performance in the tertiary sector. On the demand side, public spending, private consumption and exports were the main drivers of economic growth.
Over the medium term, Senegal is expected to regain economic momentum and return to its historical growth trajectory. Growth is projected to accelerate to 5% by 2015, the same rate of growth achieved in 2003-2007. GDP growth is expected to be driven by continued momentum in domestic demand, whereas external demand is expected to build up gradually as structural constraints are addressed. On the supply side, output growth will be broad-based, including the agriculture, mining, industry and construction, and services sectors
Poor governance has slowed progress in poverty reduction. With 47.6% of its population living in poverty, including 15% in extreme poverty, the country has seen no significant reduction in poverty between 2006 and 2011. The rapid decline of poverty from 55.2 to 48.5% between 2001 and 2005 was followed by relative stagnation, with a timid decline from 48.5% to 46.7%between 2006 and 2011. Senegal traditionally had a good system of public accountability and transparency, but these systems were severely weakened between 2006 and 2011, as illustrated by Senegal’s drop in the governance indicators. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for Senegal declined from 3.6 to 2.9 between 2007 and 2011. Addressing issues of governance in a comprehensive way will be critical for medium- to long-term growth.
Natural disasters such as droughts and flooding have slowed growth and increased the vulnerability of the whole economy. Overall, the private sector’s ability to stimulate the economy has been limited due to a weak investment climate and declining competitiveness, underpinned by weak governance systems and poor follow-up on implementation.
Senegal’s Human Development Index is 0.459, placing it at 155th out of 187 countries with comparable data; the sub-Sahara Africa average was 0.463 in 2012.
To exit the low-growth equilibrium trap, the new government has developed an ambitious program to tackle these challenges. The National Social and Economic Development Strategy (Stratégie Nationale de Développement Économique et Social, or SNDES) intends to reverse this downward trend by increasing the productivity of Senegal’s whole economy, public and private, both of which are underperforming compared with the past and with its peers. The SNDES builds on the Government’s political program, known as the Yonnu Yokute (development path), and the joint action platform of civil society, the Assises Nationales.
Last updated: September 2013
World Bank Group Engagement in Senegal
A new joint Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the period covering fiscal years 2013 through 2017 was discussed by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on February 19, 2013. The new CPS is fully aligned with the new government’s SNDES and priorities. A five-year time period was chosen for the CPS to better align the Bank strategy with the political cycle in Senegal. Under the new CPS, the World Bank Group’s support will have one foundation ¾ strengthening governance framework and building resilience ¾ and two pillars: 1) accelerating inclusive growth and employment, and 2) improving service delivery.
The current Bank portfolio under supervision has a total of national operations under the International Development Association (IDA), three regional IDA operations and nine trust fund operations. The total commitment for all active projects is US$871 million, of which US$356 million has been disbursed (for a cumulative disbursement of 41 percent). The largest share of the portfolio is in education, health and social protection (25%), followed by energy and mining (17%), urban development (15%), agriculture (14%) and transport (12%).
In economic and sector work (ESW), analytical and advisory assistance (AAA) and technical assistance (TA) activities, a major review of public finances, including the education, health and road transport sectors, was delivered late in fiscal year 2011. ESWs and TAs that are recently completed or will be completed in fiscal year 2013 include poverty and gender policy notes, a safety net assessment TA, an information and communications technology plan for transforming Senegal, a nutrition policy and partnership TA and a study on agency rationalization.
International Finance Corporation (IFC):
IFC’s current committed portfolio in Senegal, as of September 30, 2012, was US$98 million invested in 12 companies, composed of six loans, six equity investments and two guarantees.
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA):As of September 30, 2012, MIGA’s gross exposure in Senegal was US$165.5 million, equivalent to 9 percent of the MIGA portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa and 30 percent in West Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Mali). This exposure is largely concentrated in infrastructure, with over US$156 million in exposure.
Other Development Partners
Most bilateral and multilateral development agencies have an active presence in Senegal.Considerable progress has been made in recent years in harmonizing development assistance in Senegal, consistent with the principles articulated in the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda.
Last updated: September 2013
Long-Term Water Sector Project
When implementation of the Bank-supported Long-Term Water Sector Project began in 2001, Senegal’s water and sanitation sector was facing multiple challenges. The project closed in June 2009 with highly satisfactory outcomes:
The number of people having access to water supply in the project areas (Dakar and other urban centers) increased by 1,415,000 (against a target of 1,000,000, an achievement of 141%);
The number of people having a sewerage connection (Dakar and other urban centers) increased by 144,000 (against a target of 140,000, an achievement of 103%);
The number of people benefiting from on-site or semi-collective systems in suburban areas of Dakar increased by 583,000 (against a target of 400,000, an achievement of 146%);
The volume of sewage collected and treated in project areas increased by 11,745 m³/day (against a target of 10,000 m³/day, an achievement of 117%)
Financial equilibrium in the urban water supply subsector was reached at the end of 2003 and maintained afterwards;
The target of having the cash operating expenditures and equipment replacement costs of sewerage services from the Senegal National Sanitation Office (ONAS by its French initials)
covered by operating revenues was achieved as expected by 2003; and
Establishment of a management body for Guiers Lake and implementation of the Guiers Lake Management Plan was achieved by 2006.
The Bank is continuing its involvement in second-generation reforms to the sector, via the ongoing Water and Sanitation Millennium Project.
Education Sector Projects
The World Bank is a traditional supporter of the Senegalese education system. In 2000, with technical support from the World Bank, the government of Senegal prepared a 10-year education development program, the PDEF (Programme Décennal de l’Éducation et de la Formation). All donors supporting the education sector were aligned to support that program using various disbursement modalities, harmonizing their interventions for complementarities. Joint annual reviews were organized with the government, and the same instruments are used to monitor and assess progress in the implementation of a new program targeting quality, equal access and transarency in education, PAQUET (Programme d'Amélioration de la Qualité, de l'Equité et de la Transparence).
The current World Bank support to the sector consists of a global amount of $217 million. Since 2000, access to education has made significant progress in Senegal. The Growth Enrollment Rate (GER) at the primary level, which was 81 percent in 2005, increased to 94 percent in 2010. The secondary level is expanding as well, reflecting the growth in the size of incoming cohorts. Meanwhile, the supply of tertiary education has diversified, with an expanding private sector and the creation of public Regional University Centers in four provincial cities (Thies, Bambey, Kaolack and Ziguinchor) in addition to the Universities of Dakar and Saint Louis, which already existed. The total number of university students increased from 59,400 in 2005 to 90,500 in 2009—a 52 percent increase in just four years—of which 23 percent are in the private university sector.
Inequity in school enrollment has also been reduced at the primary level. With a forceful policy and expenditure drive over the past few years, the GER for girls now exceeds that of boys.